What We Believe

To believe is to care; to care is to do.

Your beliefs about God, your way of following Jesus, and your understanding of the church in the world today are uniquely yours. If you choose to practice your faith alongside us at the Church of the Isles, rest assured that your pilgrimage will be honored and respected. We celebrate a diversity of faith journeys at the Church of the Isles while holding fast to what is true—that we are united in the body of Christ. We like to say, “In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, diversity; in all things, charity.”

So, we are free of doctrine. Different expressions of faith are welcome here. But there are some basics which unite us as a church, such as… 

  • The Trinity: Creator, Christ, and Holy Spirit are one God.
  • God: Acting in love, God is ever present in the world.
  • Jesus Christ: In Christ, the only head of the church, God has come, conquering sin and reconciling the world to God’s love.
  • The Holy Spirit: God sent the Holy Spirit as the Eternal One’s continuing presence and activity in the world.
  • Salvation: Forgiveness, grace, and eternal life are promised to all who have faith.
  • Sacraments: The Church of the Isles recognizes two sacraments instituted by Christ: through baptism, people are joined in faith with Jesus and accepted into the fellowship of the church; the breaking of bread and pouring of wine are done in remembrance of the Lord’s Supper, Jesus’ death on the cross, and Christ’s resurrection.

Now, our view of scripture is unique. For sure, the Bible is the ultimate rule of faith and practice. But that doesn’t mean God stopped speaking at the end of the Bible. God has more to say, and each generation is responsible for rethinking its beliefs, as God’s word unfolds and conditions change. We like to say, “God is still speaking” through the life and teachings of Jesus today.

Likewise, our faith is over 2,000 years old, but our thinking is not. So, when you check out the Church of the Isles in person, don’t check your brain at the door. Think for yourself. You and your questions are welcome here.

One last thing. We govern ourselves democratically. No official hierarchy manages this local church. We are responsible for our own form of organization, worship, education, and mission. Each member has a vote and voice in church affairs, including who will be called as pastor, which members will be elected to leadership, how money is raised and spent, and which social issues will be addressed.

With that said, we are proud to be one of 6400 local congregations which belong to the United Church of Christ (UCC) and we’re proud of it. All of us feel a call to be a peace and justice church—and a growing church. We work together through associations, conferences, and a national setting to be the wider body of Christ offering unity, action, and freedom. But the local church is the basic unit of the UCC.